Hotel Evacuated After Chemical Leak

Guests at the exclusive Sandbanks Hotel in Poole were evacuated following a chemical incident.

Fire services were called to the four star hotel on Banks Road, with paramedics treating four people at the scene and another being taken to hospital for the effects of chlorine inhalation.

Around 20 firefighters from Poole and Westbourne have been dealing with the incident, believed to involve chlorine gas and liquid.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said two crews attended the incident but there had only been minor exposure to the gas.

Hazmat officer and station manager for Dorset Fire and Rescue Louis Minchella said a 60-metre cordon was placed around the hotel, all guests were evacuated and the beach and surrounding road were closed, adding: "We are dealing with a gas leak which can be potentially harmful to people."

The hotel - with 108 guest rooms - is situated in one of England's most exclusive locations with direct access to Sandbanks' Blue Flag beach on one side and views of Brownsea Island and the Purbecks on the other.

It boasts seven miles of golden sands with views of Old Harry Rocks, Poole and Bournemouth Bay round to Hengistbury Head and across to the Isle of Wight.

A fire service spokeswoman said: "The chemicals concerned - sodium bisulphate solution and sodium hypochlorite - when mixed make a chlorine solution which gives off chlorine gas.

"This had escaped from plant equipment into the plant room and surrounding area."

She added that fire crews have now ventilated the area and made it safe.